She was a praying person indeed, and one that gave herself to prayer, and in the Scripture sense prayed always.[1] She would often say she would ‘not be hired out of her closet for a thousand worlds.’ She never enjoyed such hours of pleasure and such free and intimate communion with God as she had there, and wondered how any could live prayerless and deprive themselves of one of the greatest privileges allowed to men.

Her gift in prayer was very extraordinary, as many have observed when the care of the family was left upon her. And as I myself have observed, when upon some peculiar occasions we have prayed together in secret,[2] I could not but wonder at the freedom and aptness of her expression, at the warmth and vigour of her affections, at her humble confidence in God, and strong expectations from him whom she poured out her soul to in that duty. With what a satisfaction and cheerfulness she would leave all her complaints and all the difficulties, grievances and distresses of others with God, thus casting her burdens upon him and finding rest to her soul in him!

She never determined any doubtful cases with respect to herself, her friends or her family till she had first asked counsel of God; and then, whatever she resolved in her closet, upon that direction was always unalterably fixed.

Many gracious returns of prayer she often observes in her diary. Sometimes God answered her whilst she was upon her knees a‑praying, either in the recovery of the sick, whose lives were despaired of by others; or in ease to the pained, when in their paroxysms and acutest agonies; or in comfort to the dejected, when under the blackest apprehensions and most dismal confusions; or in relief to the poor, when in the greatest plunges;[3] or in extinguishing the violence of flames, when the towns where she lived have been in the greatest danger of being consumed. In the last case (of fire) she always retired upon the first notice of it, being capable of giving no other assistance (as she used to say) but by prayer. At other times, she observes how long she waited for God’s answers: ‘At (such a time) I prayed, and at (such a time) God graciously answered my prayer’, and concludes, ‘Surely this was mercy worth praying and waiting for.’ She would often remark the seasonableness of God’s mercies, and how much better they were in God’s time of giving than they would have been at the first time of her asking. And sometimes she would very thankfully own the wisdom and goodness of God in denying her prayers, when she found she had asked for what had not been honourable for God to give, and would have been hurtful for her or others to receive.

It cannot be said upon how many occasions she thus addressed herself to God, or how often she opened the treasuries of grace by this key of prayer. It is most certain this was her daily refuge and her daily relief in every distress. If she did not always gain what she asked in temporals,[4] she owns she had an equivalent or better, and God fully satisfied her of the reasonableness of such denials. And as to her trials and temptations, she acknowledges it with great gratitude to God she had either present deliverance or grace sufficient (for the most part) to resist, and power at last to overcome.


[1] Luke 18:1 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint.

Luke 21:36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

Acts 10:1, 2 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, a devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway.

Ephesians 6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.

[2] Elizabeth Bury prayed alone in her closet, and attended family worship, which would have been led by her husband. It was uncommon for them to pray alone together, apart from their household.

[3] Difficulties; straits; distresses.

[4] Secular possessions.

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